USA | Donald Trump ser ut att vara oövervinnerlig. Istället för att implodera rullar det på för ”The Donald”. Ingen ser idag ut att kunna stoppa honom.
Ett tecken på detta är att Trumpkampanjen inte har behövt lägga några pengar på reklam i tv. ”The Donald” får tillräckligt med uppmärksamhet ändå.
Paul Solotaroff har följt Trump för tidskriften Rolling Stone. Här är ett utdrag från hans rapport:
What I saw was enough to make me take him dead serious. If you’re waiting for Trump to blow himself up in a Hindenburg of gaffes or hate speech, you’re in for a long, cold fall and winter. Donald Trump is here for the duration — and gaining strength and traction by the hour.
Begin with his message and mode of delivery. Standing over his shoulder, I watched Trump use the press to speak directly to his base, talking past the cameras and microphone banks to that furious demographic of working and out-of-work factory-town families who saw their wages set like Quikrete in the 1980s and watched the spoils and tax breaks swim upstream. When we landed in New Hampshire and pulled in to a Hampton high school in his motorcade of stretch SUVs, Trump was mobbed by reporters with the pushy fervor of kids seeking autographs at spring training. He batted aside their questions — Iraq, Russia, immigrants — to buttonhole the hundreds of people milling outside, unable to get in but listening on speakers, and the thousands more seated down the hall.
”I built a net worth of more than $10 billion. I’ve been a world-class businessman. . . . That’s the thinking that our country needs. Take our jobs back from China and Japan and Mexico. . . . Take a look at China. . . . We owe them $1.4 trillion . . . because we’re led by people who don’t have a clue. Honestly, I think we’re led by stupid people.”
There, in those words, is his campaign. I am strong; politicians are weak. I speak truth and never retreat; they lie and wave the white flag to our foes. They have stripped us bare; I will build us back, make this country feared the whole world over. Everything he utters is a version of this, dressed in different raiment or reference — and he’s saying it to people, his ”silent majority,” who have longed to hear these words since Richard Nixon. ”He’s delivering a message of power and courage without any proof points called policy,” says Steve Schmidt, the Republican wise man and campaign warhorse who’s been watching Trump with mounting fascination. ”A huge chunk of conservatives are unmoored from the issues. What moves them is his tone and attack on Republicans who they hold in complete contempt.”
To this point, at least, it’s been an asymmetrical war: Trump carpet-bombs his rivals each and every day without much in the way of artillery coming back. But sooner rather than later, the counterinsurgency will start, a coordinated effort by the party’s elites to trash him and his scary ideas. ”Trump’s challenge is, he’s got an unusual coalition — Tea Party Republicans, non-Tea Party Republicans and even some Democrats,” says Nate Cohn, the standout data journalist for The New York Times. ”What happens when he starts getting attacked on all the issues? Will he be able to hold his supporters together under the brunt of attack ads from the Super PACs?”
Cohn isn’t convinced that Trump’s constituency will see him through that thresher and beyond. ”He’s had total command of the media so far, and much of his strength is based on that. But popularity derived from public attention is generally thin, as we saw with Herman Cain and Sarah Palin.”
Steve Schmidt, the Republican strategist, puts it somewhat more crudely: ”Trump’s starring in a reality show of his own making, and treats every appearance like an episode,” chasing ratings in the form of fresh votes. But how do you turn appointment TV into a lasting candidacy? ”You need a huge team on the ground doing the nuts-and-bolts work — collecting signatures to be on the ballot in certain states, bringing voters to the polls — and Trump is very late to the party,” says Cohn. ”Most of his rivals have been at this over a year, and have those seasoned operatives locked up. And even if they’re available, is he really prepared to pay them a premium now?”
The first time we met, Trump led me to understand that his run had cost him peanuts thus far. A little outlay for jet fuel and salary to staff events, but not a dime dropped on advertising or charters. ”I thought I’d have spent $10 million on ads, when so far I’ve spent zero,” he says. ”I’m on TV so much, it’d be stupid to advertise. Besides, the shows are more effective than ads.” But with a commanding national lead at the end of August and runaway margins in the early primary states of New Hampshire and South Carolina, he’s had to staff up aggressively on the fly. To that end, he’s dispatched his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, to speed-hire ground troops across the country, pros who’ll try to turn his rock-star crowds into follow-through voters in six months. He’s brought on Chuck Laudner, an old hand in Iowa politics, to run his operation in that state, and had ramped up months ago in South Carolina and New Hampshire, putting strong, seasoned crews to work.
”We’re up to 60 people now, including 14 in Iowa,” Trump tells me, ”and building huge, phenomenal teams in the first seven states. I know that costs money, but I’ve got this, believe me. Remember: The two biggest costs in a presidential run are ads and transportation. Well, I own two planes and a Sikorsky chopper, so I’d say I’m pretty well covered there, wouldn’t you?”
Still: Trump, for all his billions, has far less sitting in liquid assets. Bloomberg ran the numbers on his FEC filing and pegged his cash on hand at $70 million; Politico had it closer to $250 million. Either way, it sounds like a lot of money till you factor the per-diem costs of the past couple of presidential cycles. Barack Obama spent about $1.6 million a day at this stage of his first run, in 2007. The price tag may have doubled in the eight years since, though Trump has the cost breaks noted above, so perhaps it’ll only run him the million per. But Obama was raising money as fast as he spent it, while Trump is barely bothering to lift a finger. (At last report, he’d taken in $100,000, or about five percent of what he’s spent already.) Is he really prepared to shell out $30 million a month, and more when the primaries roll around?
”Absolutely,” he tells me. ”I’m prepared to underwrite this! I make $400 to $600 million a year.”
Tidskriftsomslag: Rolling Stone, 24 september 2015.